Profile for Reader Writer Runner > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Reader Writer ...
Top Reviewer Ranking: 13
Helpful Votes: 860

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
Reader Writer Runner (Victoria, BC)
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   

Page: 1-10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21-30
pixel
Sweet: Our Best Cupcakes, Cookies, Candy, and More
Sweet: Our Best Cupcakes, Cookies, Candy, and More
by Editors of Food Network Magazine
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.77
42 used & new from CDN$ 14.77

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts..., Sept. 17 2014
Don't let the kitchy cover of "Sweet" fool you; this comprehensive baking book contains no tinned pie filling, no pre-made tart shells and no aerosol whipping cream. Recipes occasionally call for standards like frozen phyllo dough but the majority start from scratch and contain clear, simple instructions that any home baker can master. Each recipe starts with a bit of advice and uses ingredients readily found in most grocery stores.

Chapters include Cupcakes & Whoopie Pies, Cookies & Bars, Candy & Snacks, Pies & Crumbles, Fake-Out Cakes, Show-Off Cakes, Frozen Treats, and Holiday Desserts; each has an astounding variety of recipes from the traditional to the more exotic. Every chapter also features a "twists" page; a basic whoopie pie recipe, for example, turns into numerous desserts with flavour additions and variations. Additionally, the book contains several fun projects: a "fake-out" cake that looks like a bowl of guacamole an an edible tree made of sour tape, gummy spearmint leaves and gummy dots. The book definitely falls short on substitutions for specialty diets, however; neither vegan-friendly nor gluten-free recipes get much real estate.

Most remarkably for such a large book, a beautiful colour photo accompanies each and every recipe. Both the table of contents and the index also include photos for easy reference and, finally, the book has an amazing reference page on tinting icing. Start with a bowl of white frosting, add the specified combination of standard food colouring drops and achieve every colour from forest green to cotton candy.

An excellent, all-encompassing book for the avid baker.

Tiny House Living: Ideas For Building and Living Well In Less than 400 Square Feet
Tiny House Living: Ideas For Building and Living Well In Less than 400 Square Feet
by Ryan Mitchell
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.80
30 used & new from CDN$ 12.30

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts..., Sept. 12 2014
Want to spend less time and money on home maintenance? Live mortgage-free and face lower taxes? Have the freedom to travel and pursue hobbies? Most North Americans, says Ryan Mitchell, spend much of their lives chasing the dream of large home ownership only to compromise their savings, health and leisure. In his new book, "Tiny House Living," Mitchell asserts that living smaller can reap big rewards.

"Tiny House Living" begins by defining what constitutes a "tiny" house: generally fewer than 400 square feet. However, Mitchell makes it clear that area matters less than than sensibility; living small rejects consumer culture and the "bigger is better" mindset. Mitchell continues by examining the types of people to whom tiny houses appeal (commonly retirees and young professionals) and then presents eleven case studies based on his interviews with tiny house owners/builders. He shares their insights, successes and challenges and includes wonderful photographs of the completed homes, both inside and out.

The book ends with a comprehensive list of blogs (his own included), websites, and other resources for those considering a tiny home project. A highly recommended introduction for those considering a smaller and better life!

Is That a Fact?
Is That a Fact?
by Dr. Joe Schwarcz
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.96
32 used & new from CDN$ 11.73

4.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts..., Sept. 11 2014
This review is from: Is That a Fact? (Paperback)
How do we know what we know? Scientific knowledge depends on ever-accumulating, ever-changing evidence; hence, we have varying degrees of certainty about different topics. In "Is That A Fact?", McGill professor and famous pseudo-science debunker, Joe Schwarcz, discusses the black, the gray and the white of prevalent "scientific" claims.

Beginning with an overview of quackery, Dr. Joe humorously recounts a meeting with an intuitive healer who told him she could “see” that his body was infested with worms, bacteria, mushrooms and viruses. He goes on to attack bogus cancer cures, double helix water and homeopathy before moving into the gray areas. Schwarcz contends that these claims, including the benefits of fish oil supplements and the dangers of pesticides, have some merit but he does critique the studies on which the claims are based. Finally, he covers the chemical bad guys like BPA and PVC and discusses why they don't worry him.

"Is That A Fact?" both informs and delights the reader. Throughout his lucid 4-5 page snippets, Dr. Joe interweaves chemistry with medicine, critical thinking and the scientific method. He sheds much-needed light on controversial topics and humorously rebuts money-hungry celebrity "experts."

The Sobo Cookbook: Recipes from the Tofino Restaurant at the End of the Canadian Road
The Sobo Cookbook: Recipes from the Tofino Restaurant at the End of the Canadian Road
by Lisa Ahier
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.77
38 used & new from CDN$ 18.77

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts..., Sept. 11 2014
In her forward, Sarah McLachlan names SoBo as one of her favourite restaurants. She writes, “I know this book will become a staple in my kitchen – a way to bring SoBo to me when I cannot get to Tofino and eat at the restaurant itself." How's that for a ringing endorsement? Indeed, this cookbook, hailing from the remote and rugged west coast of Vancouver Island, emphasizes local, seasonal ingredients and casually elegant cuisine.

Short for Sophisticated Bohemian, SoBo began in 2003 as a food truck before moving to a local botanical garden and finally to its current location in downtown Tofino. Here, husband and wife team Artie and Lisa Ahier tell the story of SoBo while paying homage to the region; vignettes of text detail each season in Tofino and anecdotes describe the restaurant's favourite farmers and fishermen.

The vividly photographed 100 recipes highlight the Ahiers' substance-before-style philosophy and encompass every category from breakfast to soups, snacks, mains and desserts. Start the day with flaxseed and ginger pancakes or strawberry lemon scones, then move into crab and goat cheese wontons or scallops with sweet pea risotto cakes. No matter which you choose, these simple but refined recipes will please both eyes and tastebuds.

The Paying Guests
The Paying Guests
by Sarah Waters
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 20.74
12 used & new from CDN$ 20.74

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts..., Sept. 11 2014
This review is from: The Paying Guests (Hardcover)
From the Victorian "Tipping the Velvet" to the gothic "Affinity" to the World War II backdrop of "The Night Watch," Sarah Waters’s literary historical fiction never fails to engross its audience. Indeed, this talented wordsmith has a knack for combining love, crime and mystery, allowing her readers to formulate expectations before cajoling them through gut-wrenching twists and turns. Her newest novel, "The Paying Guests," brilliantly evokes the claustrophobic social demands of its post-WWI south London setting and brings to life the conflicted protagonists, Frances Wray and Lilian Barber.

Twenty-something Frances, keeping house with her mother after the death of two brothers and her father, finds herself forced to rent out rooms in order to make ends meet. As the novel opens, Lilian and her husband, Leonard, move in and thus begins the fascination between Frances and Lilian. With careful plotting and character development, Waters unfolds an initially innocent friendship. The two share confidences, go on picnics and discuss books until conversations become charged with something finally revealed as erotic tension.

The description of the ensuing affair contains incredible emotional accuracy: the first rush of desire, the delight of exploration, the agony of separation and the tedium of secrecy (it is 1922 after all). Both Frances’s mother and power-hungry Leonard threaten this precarious relationship; ultimately, of course, discovery and crisis ensue. The crisis bears Waters's trademark twists but, suffice it to say, the slow plotting of the novel's final quarter crucially reflects the tremendous strain that the crisis places upon Frances, Lilian and their relationship.

"The Paying Guests" emphasizes the need for secrecy and privacy of every type: physical, emotional and intellectual. While Waters respects the Great War as a life-altering event, she refreshingly sends it to the back burner, instead focusing on themes of consequences and love. Frances remembers her brothers only once or twice throughout the novel, not because she does not love them but because her love for them was so great that to think of them often would prove unbearable. The War thus remains a shadow looming over the characters, an event that defined a generation but the consequences of which must define the future.

The strength of Waters's fiction leaves a lasting lesson as her novel's final page proclaims the virtue of love regardless of others' scorn, disgust or incomprehension.

Chitchat: Celebrating the World’s Languages
Chitchat: Celebrating the World’s Languages
by Jude Isabella
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 16.38
29 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts..., Sept. 11 2014
Discussing topics like how babies acquire language, how humans create and change languages and how slang impacts language, "Chitchat" provides a charming exploration of the spoken word for a young reader. With only 48 pages, the book merely skims the surface of language issues but its friendly tone, illustrations and register will appeal to 8-12 year olds.

Jude Isabella presents informational text packed with quirky facts and trivia, a fascinating overview that lends humour to the topic of how language functions in the world.

Family Meals: 100 Easy Everyday Recipes
Family Meals: 100 Easy Everyday Recipes
by Michael Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 20.06
3 used & new from CDN$ 20.06

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts..., Sept. 10 2014
Always an advocate for fresh ingredients, homemade food and family mealtimes, Michael Smith shares one hundred go-to recipes from his own home in his latest cookbook, "Family Meals." In Smith's kitchen, every member of the family participates in food preparation; thus, his mouth-watering recipes call for basic ingredients and equipment/utensils that most home cooks own. No need to scour specialty food markets or purchase a single-purpose kitchen appliance when following Smith's philosophy.

Smith divides his recipes into ten categories including Breakfast & Brunch, Meatless Mondays, Lunchbox & Snacks, Sweets & Treats and Cook Ahead. Beautiful, full-page photos accompany each recipe and, with a special touch, Smith also includes many heartwarming photos of himself and his family having fun in the kitchen. Finally, the book also contains tips on how to both make cooking a family effort and keep your family kitchen running smoothly during the week.

Following Smith's recipes, everyone from pre-schoolers to adults can contribute to a wonderful meal, whether it be Every-Day Egg Sandwiches, All-day Sausage Lasagna, Overnight Oatmeal or even Just-Add-Water Noodle Jars!

Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line
Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line
by Michael Gibney
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 18.77
42 used & new from CDN$ 12.27

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts..., Sept. 6 2014
From Anthony Bourdain to Marcus Samuelsson to Gabrielle Hamilton, many chef-come-authors have described the arduous process of climbing the kitchen ladder. But "Sous Chef" stands out; Michael Gibney so rawly exposes the weight of the obligations, routine and pressure to perform inherent in the profession that the reader might conclude that becoming a successful chef simply can't be done.

With experience in such restaurants as Tavern on the Green and Momofuku, Gibney has his fair share of intricate and painstaking anecdotes to impart. And he does so with an exacting tone and brilliant recall. Furthermore, he writes in the second person, forcing the reader to inhabit the life of a sous chef working the line on a 300 cover night.

"Sous Chef" opens with a map displaying the layout of the typical restaurant kitchen. We learn about “the pass,” i.e. the area through which all food passes between cooking and plating, the various stations and prep areas, as well as walk-ins, loading docks, offices and locker rooms. But an annotated map doesn't satisfy Gibney; the text begins with "you" arriving at an empty restaurant and walking through the entire kitchen, preparing for the day. This involves checking inventory and cleanliness and pondering the physical and mental strain to come. Such an exposition might seem boring but, with Gibney’s lively prose, a deserted restaurant comes alive.

This setup works prepares us for later events, like when the fish cook becomes ill. Gibney makes us understand the impact of losing a man; tension becomes palpable as "you" jump in to a new position. Time and again, Gibney answers an essential, often glossed over question: how does a restaurant actually WORK? And despite the book's revelations, it does not read like a cautionary tale meant to weed out the delusional. It neither glamorizes the life of a chef nor inflates daily obstacles; it simply lays the facts bare without the trappings, fluff and distractions of celebrity.

Preserving Everything: Can Culture Pickle Freeze Ferment Dehydrate Salt Smoke Store Foo
Preserving Everything: Can Culture Pickle Freeze Ferment Dehydrate Salt Smoke Store Foo
by Leda Meredith
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.57
38 used & new from CDN$ 16.56

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts..., Sept. 5 2014
Unlike many books on single-topic methods of food preservation, "Preserving Everything" offers pointers and advice on dehydrating, canning, culturing, salting and smoking and even includes a set of guidelines on freezing dozens of foods. Each chapter provides serious instruction on ensuring food safety and then presents a range of recipes that readers can tackle as they gain confidence in various preserving methods.

As well as instructive, Meredith's book is beautiful, well-organized and vividly photographed. She teaches the essentials, helps readers understand WHY the basic techniques work and encourages creativity. Every idea from cheese-making to dehydrator jerky sounds amazing, making this an essential book for anyone interested in food preservation.

Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet
Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet
by Heather Poole
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.36
47 used & new from CDN$ 1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts..., Sept. 5 2014
Columnist, blogger and flight attendant with 15 years in a flammable polyester uniform under her belt, Heather Poole has plenty to divulge in her memoir of the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of the "friendly" skies. After reading Poole's account of receiving training in grooming, emergency evacuation procedures and carrying crystal Champagne flutes, most travellers will gain enough empathy to up their in-flight politeness. And that's without even considering the crazy passengers that plague flight attendants every day.

Poole's stories range from the trivial to the unbelievable but, though at times it feels disjointed, "Cruising Attitude" provides an enthralling, eye-opening peek into the life of a professional flyer. Poole introduces the jerks, like the one who yells at her repeatedly to wipe down his crotch. She presents the insane, like the woman who tried to hand over her crying baby for the duration of an eight-hour flight. And she exposes the creeps, like the cab driver, mailman and priest who hit her up for Buddy passes.

Earning $18,000 a year minus $2000 for uniforms, Poole started out sharing a house in Queens and accepting dinner dates from strangers to keep from starving. Her stories of strange men do come dangerously close to resembling a bad Sex in the City episode but Poole redeems herself when providing etiquette tips, gossiping about celebrity passengers and generally giving the public a rare look behind the galley curtain.

Page: 1-10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21-30